As we are close to wrapping up another academic year, I want to invite us all to take time for some self-evaluation. The end of the year and graudation is often a time of joy as we celebrate our student's accomplishments. However, we also have to consider the struggles many of our students face every day. I wanted to have a dialogue about compassion fatigue that is often a part of our jobs. We can suffer vicarious trama.
From the American Institute of Stress: “We have not been directly exposed to the trauma scene, but we hear the story told with such intensity, or we hear similar stories so often, or we have the gift and curse of extreme empathy and we suffer. We feel the feelings of our clients. We experience their fears. We dream their dreams. Eventually, we lose a certain spark of optimism, humor and hope. We tire. We aren’t sick, but we aren’t ourselves.”
So what do we do? What does this look like?
- Check out the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project.
- Six Ways to Avoid Compassion Fatigue
- Compassion Fatigue: The Silent Thief in our Schools
I'd like to create this space for you the share your frustrations, stories, and steps to wellness. The job of adult educators is exhausting, rewarding, overhwelming, and transforming. How do you address your self-care to avoid compassion fatigue and what tips or strategies do you have for your peers?
This article by Jessica Lander, Secondary Traumatic Stress for Educators: Understanding and Mitigating the Effects summarizes the impact educators often feel as a result of trauma-exposure felt by roughly half of today's school children.
One key strategy for aiding in compassion fatigue is building a culture of awareness and peer support. Within this resource, there is a link to a toolkit for, "I thought about quitting today".
I hope you find this information meaningful and relevant to your world and would love to hear your thoughts about this issue.
Thank you for posting this important information! I have presented several workshops in Delaware and state conferences on this topic. I always begin each presentation with he importance of self-care. As educators, our lives often center around our jobs and our students and it is difficult to achieve balance. Stress and secondary trauma can be even more prevalent at this time of year. I love the toolkit link in your post and I encourage others to take the time to explore it.
Along the lines of compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress, I found this blog, How to coach the overwhelmed teacher.
Recall previous experience
Identify one tiny next step:
Plan for Action
What would you add to this list?